A 20-page white paper has been published by the Polyurethane Foam Association that provides extensive background and a comprehensive discussion of the U.S. flexible polyurethane foam industry, related to production issues and solid waste management and recycling of post-consumer foam products that contain flame retardants.
The white paper, developed in response to an invitation from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), makes a strong case for the U.S. foam industry's excellent record of stewardship and the value of preserving a market for post-consumer scrap foam, which can be used in manufacturing bonded carpet cushion in accordance with environmental guidelines, according to PFA.
"This was a collaborative effort between PFA and a number of other groups that were instrumental in helping to shape this report," explained Robert Luedeka, executive director of the PFA. "There is much misinformation published about flame retardants and flexible polyurethane foam. We hope this document provides clarity and support for science-based regulatory decisions related to foam characteristics, handling, recycling and disposal."
In addition to the PFA who led the effort, the organizations that participated in the review process were the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry, the Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, the Carpet Cushion Council, Europur, the International Sleep Products Association, the American Home Furnishings Alliance and the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association International.
UNIDO assists members of the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty alliance of 127 countries aimed at protecting human health and the environment from the threats posed by persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The Convention goals are to restrict and ultimately eliminate the production, use and release of these pollutants and also to establish regulation of their international trade and disposal upon becoming wastes.
Parties to the Convention must develop National Implementation Plans (NIPs) for meeting the obligations of the Convention. The PFA white paper is meant to serve as a resource for UNIDO in the development of a Guidance Document on Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practice (BEP) for the management of PBDE-containing waste materials to be presented to the Convention.
According to Luedeka, although the U.S. is not a signatory country and is not bound by Stockholm Convention policies, the result of these efforts may affect the U.S. foam industry and end-use businesses due to international trade activity.
The PFA white paper,Flexible Polyurethane Foam Waste Management and Recycling,is available for download atwww.pfa.org.
Trade group publishes white paper on foam and waste management
March 8, 2012